Andrew Levins is a man of many talents: DJ, author, 'Heaps Decent' charity co-founder, terrific Twitter personality (@Levdawg). He's also a very talented chef. One of his specialties is serving up fancy takes on American fast food. His cook book, Diner: Real Food, shows you how to recreate an array of his signature USA-infused recipes at home. Here we've asked him to interpret Swedish cuisine, and the result is fusion at its funnest. Keep reading on for the recipe and cooking instructions. Oh, we forgot to mention he's great at photo bombing too. Check him in action here.
Earlier this year I made a video in which I drove around Sydney and ate what I considered to be the best hot dogs this city had to offer. At the end of the video I popped into Ikea, home of the one dollar hot dog. When I opened The Dip, a customer reviewed us online and commented that, while our hot dogs were very good, for the price he paid for one of our hot dogs he could’ve bought twelve Ikea hot dogs. So we ended the video with me buying twelve Ikea hot dogs, making a joke about it to the camera, and then leaving the twelve hot dogs to die a cold death in the Ikea cafeteria. Because here’s the thing about Ikea hot dogs: they’re fucking awful. And while it’s easy to say, “Fair enough, they’re served from a store that sells readyto-assemble furniture, how good could they possibly be?” the real bummer is that the Swedes know how to make an incredible (albeit slightly terrifying) hot dog.
A hot dog cart is as common on the side of the street in Sweden as it is in New York City, with cart owners selling all kinds of different frankfurts with even more kinds of toppings. Some of these toppings are familiar to me (fried onions, gherkins, mustard), and others less so (mashed potato). Some are just plain terrifying (bright pink shrimp salad). The monstrous Tunnbrödsrulle combines all of these toppings with several grilled frankfurts and wraps it all up a big piece of flatbread. Why can’t I get one of those at Ikea? I bet nobody would have a problem paying $12 for that.
So I started trying to make my own take on the Swedish hot dog. I knew straightaway that my world wasn’t ready for shrimp salad on my dawg, but mashed potato made sense. I love carbs on carbs! I didn’t want to completely lose the fishy taste from the shrimp so
I made the mashed potato with Kalles, a smoked fish roe spread that comes in a fun tube. The pink paste is the Swedish answer to Vegemite, except they have it on everything. The packaging even has a kid on the front — do you know any kids who would happily chow down on smoked fish egg toothpaste?
I made fried onions with the same batter I would use for simple onion rings and sprinkled them over the top of the mashed potato with some chopped gherkins. If you head to Ikea definitely buy some Swedish mustard — it’s like a sweet combination of yellow and brown mustard — but avoid the crappy thin pork frankfurts they sell and go for something better quality.
I apologise to any Swedish readers if I’ve bastardised your cuisine, but I make no apologies for dissing the Ikea dogs. Come at me.
The Levins Swedish Hot Dog
Makes four hot dogs.
Start this recipe half an hour before you want to eat it.
2 large potatoes, peeled and cut in half
½ cup of whole egg mayonnaise
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 tsp paprika
2 tbsp Kalles smoked fish roe paste
1 egg ½ white onion diced
¼ cup plain flour Sunflower oil
4 frankfurts 4 hot dog buns, cut at the top
½ cup gherkins, finely chopped Salt
1. Place the potatoes in a pot of water and add a teaspoon of salt. Bring to the boil and leave to boil for ten minutes. Drain the water and mash the potatoes with a masher. If you want really smooth mash you can use a stick blender.
2. Stir in the mayonnaise, chopped dill and paprika. Add the Kalles to your liking if you want it really fishy add more than two tablespoons. Add a pinch of salt to taste and set aside in a warm place.
3. Separate the white from the yolk of the egg. Mix the egg white with the diced onion in a small bowl and let it sit for five minutes. Drain any excess white from the bowl. Add the flour and a pinch of salt and move it around in the bowl with your fingers so the onion gets coated in the flour.
4. Fry the onion in sunflower oil. If you have a deep fryer, fry it for one minute at 180°c until golden, or you can shallow fry the onion in a pot filled with 2cm of sunflower oil on high heat for a minute until golden. Drain the onion on paper towel. You may need to separate the pieces by chopping the fried onion with a knife.
5. Grill the frankfurts on a BBQ.
6. Warm the hot dog buns. If you have a bamboo steamer, steam them over boiling water for a minute. Alternatively you can warm them in the microwave or toast them in the oven.
7. To assemble, line the bottom of the hot dog buns with mustard and place a frankfurt inside. Top the frankfurt with a few spoons of mashed potato and spoon some of the chopped gherkins onto the potato. Sprinkle a handful of fried onion pieces over the top, scream whatever the Svenska equivalent of “cheers!” is and chow down.